Traveling for business as a mom of a 14 month old isn't easy. I'm writing this as I arrive in London for the Conde Nast Local Experts Conference. In the days leading up to the trip in addition to packing, I am also preparing all of Robbie's things. I do a full run through Wholefoods to stock up on enough snacks and easy to make meals; I clean and organize all of the bottles & Sippy cups and snacks; I even prepare a detailed document on schedule, foods, likes and dislikes. It's not that his Dad doesn't know all of these things, but it makes me feel a lot better to be organized about it.
This trip seems especially difficult to be away from Robbie. I experience the attachment we have for each other physically and I'm sure the feeling is mutual. Yesterday, as I was preparing for my trip I felt my heart racing. The anxiety of leaving him was building up all week. I know he is safe with his Dad and Grandma Gigi, but still my body reacts. Perhaps its the hormones since we are still breast feeding, which is another situation to talk about as a traveling mom. So I carry a cooler bag with a breast pump and ice packs and need to pump between meetings and even on the plane. It is after all a 14 hour door to door journey to London. 😳 By the way, when will the airlines and TSA begin to respect breast feeding moms?? As if it isn't hard enough being away from our little ones. This time I wasn't allowed to bring my extra carry on for the cooler bag and breast pump. Last time I traveled to London I had to check the cooler bag with all the stored milk, hoping my most valuable bag arrived safely in Miami. It isn't easy and can be frustrating at times, but worth all the trouble for Robbie.
Now I wonder how Robbie processes his Mom being away for 4 days. Toddlers live very much in the moment. He still has a hard time if I leave the room, let alone leave the country. At 14 months he may not be able to communicate with words the way we do, but I am certain he understand a lot. Over the past few days I have been telling him about my upcoming trip and that I would be away for a few days, but that I always come home and I miss him like crazy. I believe it is best to be honest with our little ones rather than trying to distract them everytime you walk out the door.
- Try to Stay Organized - Leave caretakers details on schedule, food, and even personal details between you and your little one. This will put your mind more at ease and trigger more familiar routines for them.
- Talk to your Baby - No matter how old they are, talk to them and tell them when your leaving and that you will be back. This helps build their trust in you, even if you think they don't understand.
- Limit the amount of Facetime - My experience has shown me that Facetime can be difficult for young toddlers. They don't understand why they can see and hear you, but your not there. I look forward to this great technology as Robbie gets older.
- Choose the Right Caretaker - The most important point is to be sure you have a loving, supportive, amazing partner to take over when your away. Thank you Mark Oliver for being this and so much more for us.
- Breastfeeding - If you are Breastfeeding and planning to travel away from the baby there are a few simple items I recommend: A cooler bag, 1 ice pack, extra ziplock bags for ice and a hand pump and storage bags. If you are about to take your first trip away from your little one feel free to message me. I am happy to offer support and suggestions as I have learned through trial & error.
Thanks for listening. More to come on my journey.